'Honeymoon in Vegas' – Rolling The Dice One More Time
Needing a break from the everyday hourly horrors of cable news reporting? Well, look no further than the regional premiere of Honeymoon in Vegas, now playing at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Based on the 1992 Nicholas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker and James Caan film of the same name, it is no secret the initial run of this show failed to connect with Broadway audiences and closed just a few months after it officially opened. Rolling the dice once more time and hoping for gold, the original creative team has reunited to mount the show again. Doubling down on the laughs, director Gary Griffin, composer Jason Robert Brown, book writer Andrew Bergman and choreographer Denis Jones are giving this show one more try at the regional level. Organizing a talented troupe, punctuated with onstage pranksters, jokers and comedians, this Honeymoon is full of giggles and gags, like bubbles in a glass of champagne. It is still far from brilliant, but as an escape, Honeymoon is a real spirit lifter.
The story follows Jack Singer (Michael Mahler) a mild mannered New Yorker who inexplicably promised his mother, on her deathbed no less, he would never get married. To escape the ghost of his domineering mama, Bea Singer (the marvelous Marya Grandy) he travels to Vegas for a quicky wedding with his school teacher finance, Betsy (Samantha Pauly). Unknown to the happy couple, Betsy is the spitting image of high rolling gangster, Tommy Korman (Sean Allan Krill) deceased wife. Jack is quickly and personally invited to join a poker game, where this novice gambler loses, big time. Facing a $58,000 marker from this rigged poker match, Tommy suggests a simple trade. The debt will be forgiven if Jack will let the mobster borrow his finance Betsy for the weekend. This indecent proposal is played strictly for laughs as the story shifts from Vegas to Hawaii. Adorned in costumes by Brian Hemesath, the campy, silly fun plays out for over an hour before our nebbish hero joins a team of flying Elvis’s to win back the girl of his dreams.
While the story is a bit of a stretch, the cast on display here is the real Royal Flush. Mahler’s Jack is a winning simpleton, kneeling at the feet of Marya Grandy’s overbearing mama. Her “Never Getting Married” stole act one of this vehicle and all but ensures her another Jeff Award nomination for her portrayal of his pushy parent. As a leading lady, Samantha Pauly’s vocals are as crisp and radiant as ever. It is fantastic to see her back, center stage at the Marriott, where she previously played Eva Peron in Evita. Mobster Sean Allan Krill is a dashing temptation, the real Mr. Big as it were, combining model good looks with his spectacular vocals. The supporting cast is full of more hams than a dozen Hawaiian luaus. Steven Strafford’s Johnny Sandwich is a delightfully dimwitted and laughter inducing mobster crony. Christine Bunuan’s naught nymphet, Island tour guide, Mahi, and her act two “Friki-Friki” added amusing titillation. Even the supporting Vegas showgirls (Allison Sill and Kristina Larson) played it for laughs as jubilant jesters in plush marabou feather headdresses. Marriott supporting staple, Laura Savage, returned for a quick cameo as Sapphire de la Tour, playing the harp with her ample cleavage. Only in Vegas, indeed.
Serving slapstick farce as a comedic bawdy buffet, Honeymoon in Vegas at the Marriott is guaranteed laughs and a lighthearted, escapist romp. Featuring a cast far better than necessary, you’ll be saying “I Do” to this wacky wedding party far before the Elvis’s start to fly in from the rafters. The holes in the script still keep this show from being a guaranteed blockbuster, but this rendition is fully-loaded with much needed laughable moments.